Participation in Bonney Lake fun run a reflection of teen's spirit

Staff writerNovember 17, 2013 

Puyallup resident Jacoby Miles, right, has been making good progress since an injury last year paralyzed the teen while she was performing gymnastics. Jacoby works with her exercise therapist Jerry Daniels in August at her home.

LEE GILES III/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER FILE

Despite near-freezing temperatures Saturday morning, more than 400 runners and walkers participated in a Bonney Lake fun run to benefit paralyzed teen gymnast Jacoby Miles.

Saturday was the one-year anniversary of the accident that left Miles in a wheelchair.

On Nov. 16, 2012, Miles, then 15, lost control as she was dismounting from the parallel bars. The fall pinched her spinal cord, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down.

Julie Hindman, the unofficial treasurer for Saturday’s run, ran a quick calculation of entry fees paid by last-minute runners and came up with a total of nearly $3,700.

“I’m just about to stand here and cry,” Hindman said. “Just this alone pays for a month of therapy.”

With the money raised from those who paid the $40 preregistration fee and sales of multicolored tutus designed for the event, organizers estimated receipts from the event would top $15,000.

According to the website dedicated to Miles’ recovery — goteamjacoby.com — supporters have raised nearly $340,000 for her in the past 12 months.

Other benefit events this year have included a gymnastics meet and two gymnastics clinics. An auction last December, attended by 12 Olympic athletes, raised $180,000.

In the weeks after the accident, friends, family and the community pitched in to make the Miles’ home in South Hill more accessible and build a 1,300-square-foot addition that includes a bedroom for Miles. She’s the oldest of six children.

Miles attended Saturday’s event in her motorized wheelchair and posed for group photographs with hundreds of runners and other supporters gathered around her. She wore a runner’s bib bearing the No. 1.

“I want to say thank you to everyone who came out to support me with their donations and their prayers,” Miles said after the race began. “I wouldn’t be where I am today with my recovery without their support.”

“It’s just amazing what people have gone through to make sure I get the therapy I need so, hopefully, I can walk again,” she said. “So many people don’t get this treatment.”

Melanie Roach, the organizer of Saturday’s run and owner of the Sumner gym where Miles was injured, said the large turnout was in part because of the way Miles is dealing with her injury.

“She doesn’t complain; she’s not depressed,” Roach said. “She’s inspiring all of us.”

“I want to make sure she’s not forgotten as long as I’m alive, and hopefully after,” Roach said. “Insurance doesn’t pay for everything, so Team Jacoby is here to help with things it doesn’t cover.”

Doctors have put Jacoby’s chances of walking again “in the miracle category,” Roach said.

“But that’s okay. We believe in miracles.”

Rob Carson: 253-597-8693
rob.carson@thenewstribune.com

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